There are several different foam rolling tools out on the market for runners. There tools can be highly beneficial for aiding in the recovery & injury prevention process.
Some of the tools I use:
Classic Foam Roller– This is a great tool for all runners to add (target, amazon, your local gym)
Vibrating Foam Roller– A new level of foam rolling & totally worth the money (Hyperice)
The Stick– Better for calf & digging into specific spots (online or local running store)
Roll Recovery R3– travel sized roller that can really dig in deep to specific spots
Why we foam roll:
These tools all work to break apart any adhesions or scar tissue that builds up on the muscles. When you train, your muscles get micro tears that will build back to become stronger. This process is on-going, and as athletes, we are always trying to get faster & enhance this process. Sometimes, the natural recovery process can lead to adhesions forming on the muscles as the cells go to repair. When adhesions build up on a muscle, athletes will usually start to experiencing pain on nearby tendons. Everything is connected.
How to foam roll:
When foam rolling, it is important to focus on the major muscles like quad, hamstring, glute, calf. Scan through the entire muscles and focus equal time throughout. Sometimes focusing on the spot that “hurts” is not the exact source of the problem. Always a good idea to scan through the entire muscle to break apart anything else that might be the source.
How Often to Foam Roll:
I would recommend foam rolling 2-3x per week for 5 min at a time. A quick scan through the muscles and breaking apart any adhesions before anything serious pops up is a great way to aid in injury prevention
Disclosure about foam rolling:
If you are experiencing pain, I would highly recommend seeing a doctor to assure it is not something serious. I always advocate for ART (active release) chiropractors and doctors. It’s important to remember that foam rolling is more of a recovery activity- it will not cure any serious pain you are having.